Suggested improvements for Installer (might affect other parts)
|Reported by:||xeon3d||Owned by:||korli|
|Has a Patch:||no||Platform:||All|
At the moment, and I'm not the only one that noticed it, one of the worst Haiku parts is Installer. While it looks preety much as it's BeOS counterpart (save for the progress bar and a few bits more) it is much slower to install Haiku than BeOS on the same computer (assuming both are installable ofc).
Cause: This is due to the fact that the files layout is not really optimized for reading, so drives seek a lot while installing due to the great number of small files present on the CD (.h files and some other extensions as well).
Effect: This leads to a long "installation time" (which IMHO contradicts the "speedy" factor of Haiku), noise (most notable on old and/or laptop ones) and a shorter life for the mechanic part of the drive (which takes a toll if it's already old).
Possible Solutions: There are a number of possible solutions:
- Reorganizing the file layout so that the drive won't have to seek as much. (Sadly I tried looking for an article that explained this, but I was unable to find one, maybe due to the fact that I'm tired)
- Zipping the non-essential-for-boot/running small files in the image and extracting them at the install process. Reading + extracting a 10 or 20MB file should be faster than copying 10000 small files.
- Adding an option to Bootman / Installer to read CD contents to RAM block-wise (as reading them file-wise would be even slower) and installing from there. This could be autodetected (if lets say >1GB of RAM is present) + an option to install using the old way, or just manual (force the user to choose which way he wants to install it.
I think this can be considered important and not-as-important as well, depending on from which side you look at it.
While the current installer works perfectly (which makes it not-as-important), the Haiku installing process (and the boot from CD process as well to some point) are considered slow.
Those two processes (Install/Run-from-CD) are one of the first things the user experiences when he tries Haiku. It does not give a very good first impression if you ask me and this is what makes it important.
Haiku is coded and getting to be known for being a speedy OS, even on old hardware.
It is actually faster for me to build Haiku and install it directly to a partition than to install it from a CD and all this on fairly modern hardware (HP 6530b notebook: C2D P8400/2GB Ram/160GB Sata II HD)